West Catholic scored early and never looked back as it rolled to a 40-8 Catholic League win over Lansdale Catholic on Monday night at Plymouth Whitemarsh. The Burrs' victory put a damper on Crusaders coach Jim Algeo's last game after a 44-year career leading Lansdale Catholic.
It didn't prevent either side from saluting Algeo for a coaching career that he began 52 years ago as an assistant coach.
"It's bittersweet, but everything has to come to an end at some point. My bones tell me it's time to go," the 75-year-old Algeo said with a laugh. "I retired as a teacher last year after 52 years. You have to decide at some point it's time to go.
"It's been a great experience. We have always played a difficult schedule, but the kids have always battled and played hard."
The Crusaders, looking for a win that would have kept Algeo's career going for at least one more game, couldn't stop West Catholic's speed, especially in the form of backs Dave Williams, Dalvin Newell, and quarterback Jaleel Reed.
Williams scored a pair of touchdowns, the first coming in the opening minutes when he capped a 23-yard drive set up by a Lansdale fumble on the third play of the game. He scored again on the Burrs' second possession, from 13 yards out.
Reed scored on a 78-yard run, and Newell picked up a TD after a 62-yard punt return.
The Crusaders (3-5, 2-2 league) were hoping for a win that would have given them another shot at West Catholic (6-3, 4-0) on Sunday at Northeast High for the right to represent the league in the PIAA District 12 Class AA playoffs. Based on head-to-head meetings, Bishop McDevitt will face the Burrs.
At Lansdale Catholic, Algeo posted a 293-168-12 record. His team won the PIAA state Class AA championship in 2004.
The Crusaders were scheduled to play Plymouth Whitemarsh in their final regular-season game on Nov. 11, but with the Colonials virtually certain to make the District 1 Class AAAA playoffs, the game will be canceled. Algeo indicated that Lansdale Catholic is not likely to seek a replacement for it.
The coach was asked whether he thought about sticking around until he got to 300 wins. He paused for only a second.
"It isn't the victories," he said. "I've always thought of myself as a teacher. I don't coach for that reason. I wanted to help young people. And I'm not in competition with Joe Paterno."
Algeo paraphrased the poem, "One Hundred Years From Now": "One hundred years from now, nobody will remember what kind of house I lived in, what kind of car I drove."
But if he's had a positive impact on some young person's life, he'll be happy.
Algeo decided to become a high school teacher and coach after entering Notre Dame as a seminary student. He never entertained thoughts of coaching at the college level. He described college coaches as traveling salesmen.
Would he do anything different if he had it do over?
"The only thing I'd do would be to eliminate the mistakes I've made," he said.
Lansdale Catholic 0 0 0 8 - 8
West Catholic 14 6 14 6 - 40
WC: Dave Williams 1 run (Tristin Freeman kick)
WC: Williams 13 run (Freeman kick)
WC: Dalvin Newell 62 punt return (kick failed)
WC: Jaleel Reed 78 run (Bruce Mapp pass from Reed)
WC: Mapp 17 pass from Reed (kick failed)
WC: Jalil Shoatz 40 run (kick failed)
LC: Mike Iacono 35 run (Zach Talley pass from Patrick Duggan)